Stephanie's Reviews > Ordinary Magic

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
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it was amazing
bookshelves: mg-fiction, books-for-kat-readers

I loved Ordinary Magic SO MUCH that it just makes me want to dance every time I think of it. Last night I tried talking about it to Patrick, but I was burbling so much - and I had to keep stopping to make squealing noises of excitement! - that it was hard to be coherent about it.

I love it THAT MUCH.

Ordinary Magic is an MG fantasy novel set in a secondary world that feels very 21st-century - just another modern MG setting except that, oh, yes, people use magic for almost everything...and it was only 6 years ago that the new king finally made it officially illegal for the very rare non-magical humans (Ords) to be bought and sold.

Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make bigotry illegal, and a lot of criminal adventurers have no interest in the law, and plenty of motivation for kidnapping child Ords. So, when a twelve-year-old's magic is officially Judged, on his or her twelfth birthday, if they're found to be an Ord, they're viewed by the majority of society with distrust and horror. A lot of parents give them away (or sell them, despite the law), they're all in immense danger...

...and so a new school has been set up to try to keep them safe and teach them life skills - both marketable skills, for trying to find real jobs as adults, and self-defense skills, to protect them against kidnappers and the various terrifying magical creatures, like red cap goblins, who consider Ords to be their favorite snack.

Rubino-Bradway does a great job working with the awful realities of how social bigotry works, using a fantasy setting - without ever making it a direct parallel to any real-world bigotry, she makes the way people behave very emotionally true, and the danger is intense and real.

But what makes this book, and what made me LOVE it from page one, is the voice, combined with the fabulous characters and the sheer charm and fun of it all.

Abby Hale is a 12-year-old who finds out in Chapter One, with shock and horror, that she's an Ord. So, that's the fantasy element to her character. However, and more importantly, she's also the youngest in a big, noisy, loving, annoying, wonderful family, all of whom - combative though they might be in other circumstances - come together in her defense when her magical Judgment puts her in real life-threatening danger.

The family members are all just fabulous, every one of them distinct and funny and great, and the dynamics are spot-on perfect. I loved them all so much, I wondered if it would be disappointing when she headed off to school...

...but it totally wasn't, because I loved her school, and much more than that, I LOVED the characters there, including Peter, an extremely smart, grumpy, stand-offish boy (for completely understandable reasons) who becomes the perfect focus for a very, very sweet romance subplot. (It's muted, as is totally appropriate for their age, but still totally sigh-worthy, and I can't wait to see it develop in later books.)

This book is just plain fun to read in every way, and that includes fabulous magical action scenes, intense excitement - and simple charm, which it has in spades.

Ordinary Magic comes out on May 8th of this year. I read an e-ARC through Netgalley, but I will DEFINITELY be buying a published paper copy to read and re-read, and I cannot wait for its sequels. I have no idea how many there will be - selfishly, I hope for TONS. This is my very favorite MG fantasy discovery in a very long time, and so far, this and Jenn Reese's Above World are my two very favorite MG novels of 2012.

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Reading Progress

February 4, 2012 – Started Reading
February 4, 2012 – Shelved
February 4, 2012 – Shelved as: mg-fiction
Finished Reading
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: books-for-kat-readers

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Maria Tag You seriously like it that much? To the point of actually squealing? :)

Stephanie Maria wrote: "You seriously like it that much? To the point of actually squealing? :)"

Absolutely! One of my very favorite MG fantasies. :)

Maria Tag Cool! Here's a link to an interview with the author (which includes some news on if she's doing sequels or not:

Maria Tag Wow, you're reading The Key to the Extrordinary.....what are the chances. I have that in my book basket now to read! Will you review it?

Stephanie Maria wrote: "Wow, you're reading The Key to the Extrordinary.....what are the chances. I have that in my book basket now to read! Will you review it?"

I don't know if I'll have a chance to finish it before I leave America (and have to return my library copy), but I did love the opening!

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